Career building program chips away at poverty through higher ed
- The Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative combines subsidies and human resource support to low-income families who enroll in community or technical college training programs to advance in their careers.
- In partnership with social work, college and corporate entities, participants in the programs are twice as likely to complete a degree or certification program in five years as typical community college students, who complete at a 39% rate.
- The program has more than doubled since its inception 20 years ago, from 11 to 25 community colleges throughout Arkansas.
Arkansas' program is the kind of model the Department of Education has been promoting over the last few months as the future of higher education — partnership between state and corporate bodies to help students find and complete pathways to jobs. What is most impressive about this program is that it creates a model for communities in the south, where jobs and educational access are most scarce, and creates a blueprint for institutions with low-levels of diversity on how to engage and support low-income and minority students.
While the model is centered around the flexibility and resources which are unique to community colleges, four-year institutions can learn from similar pathway programs for managerial development or entry-level workforce preparation in proximate industries.